Round 3 was a round full of surprises, headlined by a upset win by the Dockers over the Demons. Injury also reared his ugly head once again, with Katie Brennan suffering another ankle issue, robbing the competition of one of its brightest stars, and robbing the Bulldogs of their leader and spearhead. There look to be some very close games this round, and with a Grand Final spot a realistic goal for every side bar Collingwood, there is PLENTY to play for.
The Wolf thinks Round 4 will sort the contenders from the pretenders- see the suggested bets and match previews below.
Match (Time AEDT)
Bulldogs v Blues (Fri 7:05 pm)
Best Bet: Western Bulldogs WIN ($1.58) Other Bet: Total Points UNDER ($1.87) Player Prop: Ellie Blackburn 2+ goals ($2.40)
Best Bet: 1st Half Straight – Melbourne WIN ($1.50) Value Bet: Demons 25+ ($3.10) Prop Bet: Daisy Pearce 25+ disposals
Giants v Crows (Sun 4.35pm)
Best Bet: Triple Margin 15.5 ANY OTHER RESULT ($1.70) Value Bet: HT/FT Double – Giants/Crows ($6.00) Prop Bet: Phoebe McWilliams 2+ goals
MULTI- Bulldogs v Blues – Total points UNDER $1.87/ Lions H2H $1.47/Demons -13.5 $1.90/Giants v Crows – Either side under 15 $1.70: Final odds $8
Bulldogs v Blues – Friday 7.05pm, Whitten Oval It was a case of deja vu for the Bulldogs last round; as captain, key forward and barometer, Katie Brennan, once again succumbed to an ankle injury in the third round. This news was tempered somewhat by the hope it is not as serious as last year’s injury, and the fact Carlton key forward, Tayla Harris, will miss the clash after an ill-disciplined strike against her former side. The Blues certainly looked vulnerable down back without their general, Brianna Davey, and despite missing Brennan and young pup Izzy Huntington, the Bulldogs forwards will certainly fancy their chances in the knowledge they are far better prepared to handle life without their skipper this time around. One of the players looking to contribute more in the forward line will be Ellie Blackburn, who, while primarily an inside midfielder, was a star forward as a junior and kicked 3 goals against the Blues in the corresponding clash last year, and loves the tight dimensions of her home ground. The Wolf thinks that while losing Brennan is a blow, the absence of both Davey and Harris for Carlton has far bigger consequences, and the Doggies should be able to get the job down in front of the Bulldogs faithful. Brooke Lochland, Aisling Utri and Bonnie Toogood have all come along in leaps and bounds, and provide good marking targets for clearance queen, Emma Kearney. There may not be many points in this one though, with both defences looking decidedly stingy this season. Best Bet: Western Bulldogs WIN ($1.60) Other Bet: Total Points UNDER ($1.87) Player Prop: Ellie Blackburn 2+ goals ($2.40)
Lions v Dockers – Saturday 4.35pm, South Pine Sports ComplexThe Dockers pulled off the upset of the year last round when they knocked off the top-ranked Demons, while the Lions easily accounted for the Blues on the road. The Lions, despite losing Tayla Harris in the preseason, look like a more complete and mature side- and certainly have the experience to handle a resurgent Dockers side that is full of confidence. Jess Wuetschner has taken her game to another level this season, and she is ably supported by Rising Star nominee, Sophie Conway, who has injected some real speed and fight into the re-jigged Lions forward line. The Dockers unearthed a Rising Star of their own, after nimble key forward Emily Macguire started off her AFLW career with a bang- producing a glimpse of the potential she showed in the U/18 championships. With elite talents Kara Donnellan and Ebony Antonio leading the way, the Dockers are showing much more fight than they did last season, but the Wolf is a big fan of the Lions who have only lost once at home. A hard-fought win to the Lions looks the way to go, while Sabrina Frederick-Traub will look to punish her home state, and given the fragility the Dockers have shown against opposition talls, the Wolf likes the big forward to kick a couple of majors. It goes without saying Lions star Emily Bates will be her usual industrious self- bank her for 20 touches. Best Bet: Lions 1-24 ($2.20) Prop Bet: Emily Bates 20+ disposals Prop Bet: Sabina Frederick-Traub 2+ goals
Demons v Magpies – Saturday 7.10pm, Traegar ParkThe Wolf labelled the Magpies a rabble before last round, and their loss to the Giants did nothing to dispel that notion. Worryingly for the Pies, the Demons will be stung after a disappointing loss to the Dockers, and with an experienced group surely hellbent on redemption, things could get messy very quickly. Daisy Pearce led from the front again, with 24 disposals and 5 clearances, and Tegan Cunningham was fantastic up forward with 4 contested marks, 3 inside 50 marks and 2 goals, but the despite having the run of play the Dees were very wasteful up forward, kicking just four goals from 34 inside 50 entries. Conversely, the Magpies defence broke under the weight of the Giants peppering their defensive 50, with their midfield badly beaten- leaving them -19 on the inside 50 count. This trend will likely continue on Friday, with a Melbourne midfield of Pearce, Paxman, O’Dea, Hickey, Guest, Mithen and Cranston likely to completely overwhelm the C-grade Magpies midfield. The Wolf thinks the Dees are going to come out fired up after last week’s loss, refreshed by a week of team bonding in Perth and Alice Springs. Turn away Pies fans, this could be a massacre. Best Bet: 1st Half Straight – Melbourne WIN ($1.50) Value Bet: Demons 25+ ($3.10) Prop Bet: Daisy Pearce 25+ disposals
Giants v Crows – Sunday 4.35pm, Blacktown International Sports ParkBoth the Giants and the Crows got their first wins of the season last round, with the Giants securing a hard-fought win over the Pies and the Crows celebrating the return of Erin Phillips with a 7 point win over the Bulldogs. In a display befitting the title of being the inaugural AFLW Best and Fairest winner, Phillips booted 4 goals- spending more time forward as she builds her match fitness, with Chelsea Randall and Sarah Perkins both spending significant amounts of time through the middle. Importantly for the Crows, star rebounding defender Courtney Cramey returns to shore up a leaky defence that will now lose Dayna Cox thanks to suspension. While Sarah Allan is certainly building into her role at fullback, the Crows have shown a vulnerability to strong contested marking forwards, which the Wolf thinks lends itself to more goals from the competition’s leading goalkicker, Pheobe McWilliams- who got the chocolates for us last round. The Crows should win this, but the Giants are starting to build a very even list that actually matches up quite well with the Crows, and they have certainly come a long way since being trounced by Adelaide in the season opener last year by 36 points. An upset is certainly not out of the question, which is why the Wolf likes the margin, with either side, to remain within 15 points. Best Bet: Triple Margin 15.5 ANY OTHER RESULT ($1.70) Value Bet: HT/FT Double – Giants/Crows ($6.00) Prop Bet: Phoebe McWilliams 2+ goals